5 Things to Read on Health Care Access

Medicare Advantage coverage for groceries, people choosing to forego health insurance, and birth-control delivery services are all covered in this week’s roundup.

Health care and … groceries? Medicare Advantage plans cleared to cover both

Insurers can now include benefits like transportation to doctor visits, healthy groceries and home modifications like grab bars in the bathroom or air conditioners for people with asthma. “Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will have more supplemental benefits making it easier for them to lead healthier, more independent lives,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, according to The Washington Post.

An inside look at the uninsured

Across the country, thousands of Americans are “risking it” by choosing to go without health insurance because of the cost of coverage. Bloomberg is following several families doing just that to find out why and how they’re getting by. Read part one and part two of the series. (And read the MHCSW story about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are investing in strategies to make coverage and care more affordable.)

Americans are pleased with their marketplace plans …

More than half (61 percent) of people who purchased insurance plans through an ACA marketplace are satisfied with their plans, a new poll from Kaiser Family Foundation found. Additionally, the majority said they would continue to buy health insurance even without the threat of a tax penalty for going uninsured. Kaiser Health News shares more details.

… but 400,000 fewer people have marketplace coverage

About 1.8 million people gained health insurance coverage from an ACA marketplace during open enrollment — about 400,000 fewer than last year. The New York Times called this a “relatively small” drop, since open enrollment was significantly shorter this year, and the federal government pulled back its outreach efforts. Read more from the Times here.

Birth control-delivery services increase access to contraception

Apps that deliver hormonal birth control — without a visit to a doctor — are becoming more popular, especially in so-called “contraception deserts,” where accessing women’s health services is difficult. NPR dives into the issue and the apps seeking to solve it.


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health care system work better?

Interested in ways we can make the health care system work better?